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Pope Names New Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore

The Holy See today announced Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, 68, as the new Archbishop of Baltimore. He will succeed Cardinal William H. Keeler, who has served as Baltimore's 14th archbishop since 1989. Cardinal Keeler offered his resignation to the Holy Father in March 2006, when he turned 75 years old, in accordance with canon law.

Archbishop-designate O'Brien will be installed on October 1, 2007 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.

"I am humbled in being named shepherd of this historic Premier See whose Catholic roots reach deep into our Nation," Archbishop O'Brien said. "Very much aware of the lengthy and impressive line of my predecessors, I pledge with God's grace, to give myself fully to the task of making Jesus Christ known by preaching His Word and serving His people".

Archbishop O'Brien was named Coadjutor Archbishop for the Military Services on April 8, 1997 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II until August 12, 1997, when he was named Archbishop. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New York on March 25, 1996 following over a decade of service as rector at two seminaries, including the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York on May 29, 1965 and served as a chaplain at West Point, New York and in Vietnam with the 173th Airborne Brigade and 1st Cavalry Brigade.

He serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Pontifical North American College and a member of the Boards of Trustees for St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Canon Law Society, U.S.A. From September 2005 to June 2006, he served as the Holy See's coordinator for the Papal Visitation of Seminaries and Houses of Priestly Formation and this spring was appointed a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries.

Archbishop O'Brien received undergraduate and graduate degrees from St. Joseph's Seminary and College and a doctorate from Angelicum University in Rome.

"I have known Archbishop O'Brien for more than 20 years through my pro-life work with the United States Bishops'; Conference and my affiliation with the North American College" Cardinal William H. Keeler said. "In every aspect of his priesthood Archbishop O'Brien has served the Church with great courage and devotion. I look forward to watching him lead the faithful of this historic Archdiocese, and seeing the results of his dedicated service".

Founded in 1789 as the first Catholic diocese in the United States, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is home to over 500,000 Catholics who worship in 151 parishes located in Baltimore City, Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington Counties. Each year, the 87 schools in the Archdiocese educate more than 35,000 students. The leading non-profit provider of human services in Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Catholic Charities has 80 programs that welcome and serve 160,000 people annually and provide 250,000 meals to the hungry of Baltimore City.

Media notes: An electronic photo of Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, as well as his statement and biography are available online at www.archbalt.org

Media note: The media contact for the Archdiocese for the Military Services is Rev. James R. Dixon, 202-269-9100.